Football Faces Off Against Columbus East for Sectional Championship


Abby Matthews

Senior running back Carson Steele rushes the ball in the 47-0 Trojan win against North Central.

Earl Ridlen, Staff Writer

When the Trojans take the field tonight, they will be faced with their most important matchup of the season, so far. At this point in the season, every week is the most important, as a loss ends the season.

“We need a 1-0 mentality,” senior safety Brayton Spetter said. “All that matters is this week’s game. We need to go out onto the field and dominate.”

Up to this point in the season, Columbus East is 8-2, with their only losses being to Whiteland in the first week of the season and undefeated Elkhart. They have an average point differential of 25.7 in their 10 games, and are 5-0 on the road. As a team they average 346.2 rushing yards per game, and their leading rusher, senior Mark McDonald averages 151.9 rushing yards and three touchdowns per game. The Olympians also are led by senior quarterback Malachi Parks, who has 895 passing yards with nine touchdowns to just one interception and 1198 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.

The Trojans have shown this season that they excel in limiting the run game. The defense has allowed a total of 408 rushing yards, which is an average of 40.8 per game. The only week where a team has gone over 100 yards was last week, when Columbus North rushed for 158 yards. However, no individual player has rushed for 100 through the entire season. The Trojans are undefeated on the season. They also average a point differential of 33.7.

“We need to be fundamentally locked in,” said Spetter. “We know that they’re a running team, and [we] know we have to be both physical and fundamental in order to stop them.”

A win this week would mean advancing to the regionals for the 10th time in a row. It would also mean revenge, because the last time Trojans lost the sectional was at home against Columbus East. Overall, it means that the Trojans will advance another round in the playoffs and extend their winning streak to 11.

“The challenge this week is too great for us to back down,” said safeties’ coach Tom Blanck. “When the going gets tough and the work seems too difficult to bear, that is when we must rise up. We need to rise up to the challenge, for it is too great to back down from.”